I was reading this morning about Paul’s concern for some of the Christians in Thessalonica. What interested me was the apprehension that he felt about how they were doing, particularly whether yet were keeping going in the faith.
“But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”
1 Thessalonians 3:6-9 NIVUK
This started me thinking about the many people we have had the privilege of serving over the years and the joy to see some really pressing on with Christ and the real sadness to see some who have given up on Christ.
If the whole thing were merely a lifestyle choice, like shopping at Tesco or Asda or which football team you support, then it honestly wouldn’t matter but the thought that some of these friends will be lost and that I will never see them again in eternity is genuinely a heavy load to bear; it brings real sadness.
If you are reading this as one of our friends who has walked away then may I say two things?
Firstly don’t judge Christ merely on the failures of his people. He is more amazing than you think and more kind and compassionate than we at first imagine. He cares about sheep who wander away.
Secondly the joy of relationship lasting into eternity is not a small thing.